It's no surprise that we love to cook. We decided at the very beginning that we were going to spend our money on our kitchen. The house was designed to be centered around the kitchen. We knew that we would be spending the vast majority of our waking hours in or around the kitchen.
Ryan began talking about the idea of a wood burning pizza oven very early on. He played with the idea of doing something outdoors, but when you consider our Indiana weather, indoors just made more sense. It definitely wasn't the easier choice, but it did make more sense.
He spent a lot of time doing research. He read numerous books, countless websites, and got on the phone and started calling people. It seemed like most of the companies were based out of California, or other warm weather climates. People agreed that it could be done, but it would take more work. He finally settled on an oven from Wildwood Ovens and got busy planning.
With the help of his dad, Ryan spent many hours on the construction and ventilation of the the actual oven. Maybe one day, I will convince him to share the process here. After the frame, the oven, and the ventilation were all in place, the framing went around it and it was time for masonry!
We had admired old crumbling buildings and restaurants with exposed brick walls, but we weren't sure how to recreate that look. We found some brick veneer products that looked pretty good, but they were pricy. We finally inquired at our local building supply yard about using actual reclaimed brick. They did have some, but were fairly negative about using it. The salesman discouraged us because a lot of the bricks tend to be damaged and broken. You have to buy a whole pallet, so you can't be exactly sure what you're going to get. We went out into the yard and looked at them anyway. They were exactly what we wanted!
You just can't get that look with reproduction materials. Yes, some were broken and chipped. Yes, they had old paint and mortar still stuck to them. Perfect!
Throughout our building process, people either got our vision right away or they never did. This was definitely an example of that. We discovered that if we were working with a salesperson or contractor who didn't get it, we were all better off if we moved on.
When the day finally came for the masons to brick in the pizza oven, we ran into the same problem. They looked at me like I was crazy when I told them I wanted it to look old and falling apart. Luckily, I had some pictures on my phone of some inspiration walls.
We framed in a box area near the bottom of the wall for wood storage later on.
It was really difficult for the mason. He just kept looking at it and shaking his head. :) Basically, when he laid the brick onto the mortar, he never went back and scraped anything off or wiped it clean. It is overgrouted and uneven and the reclaimed bricks look right at home.
Even though the bricklayers weren't too happy with it, I absolutely love it! So far, we've had a couple of fires in the oven to season it. I can't wait to actually make some pizza!